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Natural Capitalism: A conversation with Women for Nature Laura Couvrette and Cara MacMillan
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Natural Capitalism: A conversation with Women for Nature Laura Couvrette and Cara MacMillan

[caption id="attachment_31054" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Cara Macmillan Cara MacMillan, Women for Nature member[/caption] Featuring Women for Nature member's Laura Couvrette. Written by fellow Women for Nature member Cara MacMillan.  [caption id="attachment_31533" align="alignright" width="150"]Image of Laura Couvrette Laura Couvrette, Women for Nature member[/caption]

“We believe that organizations can do more. Organizations can increase profitability and efficiency while becoming more environmentally and socially responsible.”
  Allow me to introduce you to my friend and partner in Women for Nature, Laura Couvrette. Laura and I share a passion for nature and for business. This article is about Laura’s journey and commitment. Laura is from small town northwestern Ontario. She believes in community. Growing up, she saw and felt the wealth in nature as it provided jobs to her community. But nature was more than that– Laura saw that the abundance of lakes and trees need to remain so that we each can feel the healing and restorative powers of our natural world. Laura’s personal need to connect to nature leads her joyfully down many of Toronto’s beautiful running trails. “There are beautiful trees in amongst the concrete that can quiet your mind and your soul, but one needs to look to see them.” Business and nature are not mutually exclusive. The challenge that each of us in Women for Nature share is to practice authenticity. “We need to weave a respect for nature into the daily routines of our lives.” Image of a trail in the forestSo what inspired you to become a Woman for Nature? “I love the idea that women who are not necessarily working in the environmental field can share in the collective responsibility to stand, speak and champion nature. I am honoured to be a part of the conversation on how we each can be stewards of the earth.” As we continued to chat, Laura told me a secret that I have to share with you (and yes I have her permission.) “I pick up trash.” Yes as Laura runs along the trails or walks to the park and she sees litter along the road, she brings a bag along so that she can recycle it appropriately. “There is a neighbour of mine who takes the time to walk through our neighbourhood and nearby park and pick up the things others had thoughtlessly thrown out. I love that he does the right thing for the right reasons even when no one is looking. That is what I try to do in every aspect of my life. I want to do the right thing even when no one is watching.” So is there anything you would like to add…. “I enjoy connecting and learning from other women who share my passion for nature. We are women from many different professions, many different parts of Canada, many different backgrounds and we help each other see things differently. Being a Woman for Nature has sharpened my lens and it allows me to see what needs to change.” Tell me who inspired you? My inspiration has to be my great aunt Florence. Remember, we lived in a very small town. Our world was small. Yet Florence was very well read and intellectually well-rounded woman. She always kept an open mind. Florence was interested in the world and she challenged me to be curious and to explore different viewpoints from different perspectives: science, business, art, pop culture and community. And how do you apply what Florence taught you? I apply the same open-mindedness and respect in all aspects of my personal and business life. Creating meaningful connections with people is achieved when you go outside of the ordinary. Empathy, connection, community, family, respect, stewardship, balance and inner quiet are the values by which I lead my life. And in business, sometimes these values may not lead to immediate returns, but the value proposition over the long-term is powerful and more profitable. Any advice? [caption id="attachment_33937" align="alignright" width="435"]Image of the nature in Toronto Nature in Toronto[/caption] "See nature where you are. I challenge the idea that Toronto is only skyscrapers and cement. It is simply not true. Nature is everywhere and we need to open our eyes and find it. There are great apps that show us where nature is in our community. As a family, we adopted and planted a tree in our local park. I love watering our tree with my son. Children want to go outside and they want to explore. I get to see the excitement when my son sees the first snail after the winter thaw. This is who I am. I renew myself in the forests of Toronto. Women for Nature champions nature in our communities. We share our stories, inspire each other and encourage each other to think broadly. We challenge each other to keep an open mind and to see our world from many perspectives: science, business, art, pop culture and community. And we also challenge each other to do the right thing, even when no one is looking." To learn more about our amazing Women for Nature, please click here.
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Get to Know “Wild” Woman for Nature Jennifer Haddow
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Get to Know “Wild” Woman for Nature Jennifer Haddow

[caption id="attachment_13592" align="alignleft" width="130"]Picture of Caroline Casselman Caroline Casselman, Women for Nature member[/caption] Featuring Women for Nature member Jennifer Haddow. Written by fellow Women for Nature member Caroline Casselman.  [caption id="attachment_33430" align="alignright" width="150"]Jennifer Haddow tree Jennifer Haddow, Women for Nature member.[/caption] Jennifer Haddow is the owner of Wild Women Expeditions, an outdoor adventure travel company for women. She has led public engagement programs for a variety of environmental and social justice non-profit organizations, including Oxfam Canada and the Canadian Environmental Network. Jennifer is a passionate advocate for protection of wild spaces and promoting the value of women's leadership in the outdoors. She is based in Quadra Island, British Columbia. As part of the Women for Nature blog series, I asked Jennifer how her environmental activism has changed over the course of her career. Growing up in Newfoundland, what influenced your decision to become a global citizen and environmental activist? At 18, I had the opportunity to join the Canada World Youth exchange program. I lived for four months in Egypt, which opened my eyes to global issues around poverty, social justice, race relations, community development and the environment. The experience changed my perspective on what I wanted to accomplish in my life and my career. I studied international development at university and began my journey to becoming a global citizen. I worked for 15 years in the not-for-profit world, as well as in government on the International Campaign to End Landmines. That is a major life change. Was there anything in particular that influenced your decision? [caption id="attachment_33434" align="alignleft" width="300"]Jennifer Haddow Jennifer Haddow, in nature.[/caption] Like a lot of conservationists, I was extremely passionate about protecting the environment – almost becoming a martyr to the cause. Eventually, though, I became frustrated by some of the armchair activism we see in the movement. Lots of statistics and talk about saving the environment, but not enough on-the-ground experience or in-depth knowledge about the threatened places we were trying to save. We also talked about having a balanced relationship with the natural world, but we didn’t have much balance in our own lives. I myself was working too much and losing my connection to what we were all fighting for – I call it the unhealthy saviour complex. I became frustrated and burnt out. And then I became sick. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) 10 years ago, a terrifying wakeup call. I decided to re-orient my life toward the natural world. I travelled to the Himalayas and trekked to the base camp of Mount Everest. It was incredible to wake up in a tent in the snow and watch the sun rise over the world’s highest mountain. From then on, the compass of my life tilted toward fresh air, sunshine, being active and healing. I had gone on a few Wild Women expeditions and loved them so much, I bought the company when the owner announced her retirement. Intuitively, I felt I was meant to be the next owner. How does the mission of Wild Women Expeditions align with the Women for Nature campaign? Is this what inspired you to join? Yes, I think it is important for all of us to get out into the wilderness and get dirty! We need to engage in a physical way in order to fall in love with the natural world, otherwise we won’t really fight hard enough to protect it. That’s the premise for Wild Women Expeditions. We want to bring women into this supportive experience so they can fall in love with the natural world and do the necessary work to conserve it. [caption id="attachment_33433" align="alignright" width="300"]Jennifer Haddow, on a kayaking trip. Jennifer Haddow, on a kayaking trip.[/caption] That passion and commitment is what I identify with in the Women for Nature campaign. And while I believe we need to physically engage in these issues, I also believe in the power of storytelling. We always read outdoor adventure stories about men but we need to promote the value of that experience for women. We need to connect the dots between outdoor adventure, protecting wild spaces and promoting women’s leadership in nature. The next issue of our Wild Women Magazine features Jane Goodall – the quintessential wild woman! How is your health now? I’m in the best health I’ve ever been. I consider myself to be in remission. I have a chronic condition but I am not sick; I am afflicted but not affected. I am at my happiest being a mother to my 5-year old son and when we are home on Quadra Island, we spend lot of time taking hikes and communing with nature. But I want him to be a global citizen too. We visit incredible places – from the jungles of Costa Rica to the Egyptian desert and the elephant sanctuaries of Northern Thailand. Any words of wisdom or advice you want to share with future Women for Nature? I believe I had a physical, emotional and spiritual breakdown because – like a lot of women – I had too much stress and not enough space. And we need that space in order to balance our lives, maintain our health and be our authentic selves. So I can’t emphasize it enough. Go outside, get dirty and connect to the natural world. And, share your stories of what it means to be a wild and adventurous woman – for your health, your spirit and for the environment. To learn more about our amazing Women for Nature, please visit www.womenfornature.ca

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“An interesting retirement”: Member Gordon Kelly’s adventures in forestry and duck banding
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“An interesting retirement”: Member Gordon Kelly’s adventures in forestry and duck banding

My family home was in Montreal, and my grandparents had a place in the Laurentians. It was 400 acres of woodland, but as a boy, I remember feeling like I could explore forever. So, I was brought up in two places. And I liked the wild better. I became interested in birds very early. At 13, in 1947, a friend and I found a local bird club, and we were the youngest members in history! Back then, there were rules about kids going to movies or lectures without an adult, so until we were 16 one of our moms had to come. I remember the thrill of going on field trips with experienced bird watchers, who helped me identify birds even just by song! At 16, I had a family member whose sister was married to a forester and I thought that sounded just amazing. I went for an interview when I was 16, but I couldn't be hired for a summer job until I was 17. I was hired that summer and sent to the farthest operation in the St. Maurice Division called Cooper Lake, situated at the headwaters of the Nottaway River which flows into James Bay. [caption id="attachment_33342" align="alignright" width="300" class="right "]Fall folliage in field next to the La Croche river Fall foliage in field next to the La Croche river. Photo by Gordon Kelly[/caption] It was my first time in the Boreal Forest. 1951, Virgin forest, and logging was just beginning. The black spruce...unbelievable. It was then I decided to become a Forester. In 1987, with my son, we purchased our woodlot of 225-acres. There were some red pine plantations on the property dating back to the early 1960s. We have since added another 225-acres for a total of 450 which we manage with my son and grandson who are also Foresters. I can't tell you what it means to me, to my family. It's the most beautiful place, full of memories and stories. And about 20 years ago back in 1996, not far from my house, I was walking on a trail near a swampy area, very overgrown. I noticed a pair of Wood Ducks. As I went exploring, I realized it was an old beaver pond, and that I could pull out some of the alders and other growth. One of my sons, who today manages migratory bird banding stations in the Yukon, at the time was learning to band at Long Point. Word spread and I was contacted by a biologist who asked me to start banding. [caption id="attachment_33345" align="alignleft" width="300"]Image of Gordon Kelly releasing a Wood Duck Gordon Kelly releasing a Wood Duck[/caption] On average, we band 155 ducks per year, some that return. I had one last year that I banded five years ago! And one year we had 255 ducks! It's been an interesting and rewarding retirement indeed! Why do I support Nature Canada? Because education is so important. You see it mostly in the kids, but really so many Canadians don't get out in nature. We've become disconnected. We can't just continue to exploit nature without consequences. I'm a Guardian of Nature monthly donor, and I know that my regular support makes a difference. It means Nature Canada can get people more involved in nature, in making citizens and our governments more aware of the importance of nature conservation.

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Building Future Women Leaders for Future Forests
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Building Future Women Leaders for Future Forests

[caption id="attachment_12863" align="alignleft" width="150"]Picture of Kathy Abusow Kathy Abusow - Founding Member of Women for Nature[/caption] Kathy Abusow, is the President and CEO of SFI Inc. and a founding member of Nature Canada’s Women for Nature initiative. SFI® Inc. is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management. I’m honoured to share the passion that Women for Nature has for the environment and for passing our values on to others to drive change. As President and CEO of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), I’m also especially keen to show younger women and girls that they too can take leadership positions that champion both nature and the role of women at the same time. In my more than two decades as an environmental champion, which began at Harvard University where I concentrated on sustainable development of natural resources, I have seen sustainability move from being a fringe issue to something that is fundamental to environmental, social and economic progress. I am pleased to be part of Nature Canada’s Women for Nature initiative to bring together 150 women of influence as we approach Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017. Women for Nature is the collaborative voices of Canadian women with vision – women of influence who chose to demonstrate their passion for nature and pass their values on to others to drive change. Together we will be more effective in our efforts to inspire young leaders for nature. [separator headline="h3" title="SFI’s youth outreach initiatives and community grants are encouraging future leaders for future forests"]Two of our important partners are the Girl Guides of Canada and Scouts Canada (which includes girls). With Girl Guides and our partners at Ducks Unlimited Canada, we have engaged girls to build duck nest boxes; building these boxes and installing them in wild places is increasing girls’ awareness of the world they live in and showing them they can make a difference. SFI is also a proud sponsor of Scouts Canada’s annual Scoutrees tree-planting program. Scouts have planted more than 80 million trees across Canada and given girls and boys a sense that they can make a difference. There is no better time than now to reconnect kids with our forests and grow a better place for all of us to live. And if some of these kids are girls who grow up to be leaders in sustainability that will be good for women and for the planet we all share.warbler We have more in common with Nature Canada than inspiring young leaders for the future. We are busy collaborating today on other initiatives that can make a difference for important species. For example, SFI was delighted to help sponsor Nature Canada’s Women for Nature reception on Parliament Hill for a second year. It featured MPs and Senators from all parties, and included a presentation from the Minister of Health about her personal love for nature. [separator headline="h3" title="Our relationship with Nature Canada also includes work on bird conservation"]In March, we supported a workshop on the threatened Canada Warbler. It was attended by 30 scientists, conservationists and resource managers who came together in Ottawa to apply the best, most-recent science and problem-solving to halt the decline of the Canada Warbler. I look forward to working more closely with Eleanor Fast, the Executive Director of Nature Canada, as I believe SFI and Nature Canada are a natural fit when it comes to youth education and promoting conservation awareness.

Video: How to grow a tiny forest anywhere
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Video: How to grow a tiny forest anywhere

Greening your NatureHood! A forest planted by humans, then left to nature’s own devices, typically takes at least 100 years to mature. But what if we could make the process happen ten times faster? In this short talk, eco-entrepreneur Shubhendu Sharma explains how to create a mini-forest ecosystem anywhere.

Sleeping Giant
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Sleeping Giant

"It's a sleeping giant!" the road guard told us about the forest fire we had come so far to see. "It is not out by a long shot. We say we have it under control but there are still lots of hot spots that could spring to life with the right conditions. We will be here for a while yet and hope for a good rain to help out." This 7000 Ha. fire that has been burning for the past couple weeks began with a lightening strike. It burned right up to the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park. It burned up the mountainsides to the tree line in many areas. Park rangers were able to save their own warden station and the hotel at The Crossing. Workers from the hotel complex were evacuated for about five hours and had to work in stifling smoke for a few days. All are now okay as long as the giant sleeps. [caption id="attachment_15100" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Smoke and Hot Spots Smoke and Hot Spots[/caption] Wild fires are spectacular sights to see and the blackened mountainsides now seem so barren and dead. It is wrong to think of this natural occurrence as a disaster to the environment. It must be looked upon as rejuvenation, a rebirth of forest, in this case. Wildfires occur on prairie grasslands, shrub brush as we see in California and Australia as well as tundra and forest. They are quite harmful to wildlife such as nesting birds, amphibians and snakes or slow moving creatures like porcupines. Most of these critters would die from lack of oxygen which is consumed by superheated gasses ahead of the fire. Animals that are mobile enough to escape the firestorm must now find new territory to live in. This can be quite stressful for animals like bears who must now rustle over unknown territory for food. [caption id="attachment_15097" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Bear eating berries A Lot of Berries to Put a Bear to Sleep Safely[/caption] Wolves must now compete with neighbouring packs who are very territorial. It will not be an easy go for some of the wildlife displaced by this fire. [caption id="attachment_15098" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Dead forest The Beginning, Not the End[/caption] The land itself can be permanently scarred, depending upon how intense the fire was. Rich duff layers and roots can be consumed by ground fires. This may cause erosion to occur during rainstorms as there is nothing for the water to soak into to delay the runoff. Also carried by the torrents would be ash and burned debris into neighbouring streams and rivers. Mother Nature has considered these temporary hardships for the long term benefits of the land. Fire helps to control pests such as dreaded Pine Beetle who have caused the demise of millions of acres of pine forest across western Canada and U.S.A. Mature and diseased trees will now be converted into usable soil nutrients through ash and their long term decay. Invasive plant species and weeds are brought under control and a new forest begins. Pine cones need fire to pop them open releasing seeds that will create a new and vibrant forest habitat. Sunlight can now penetrate the burned skeletal trees allowing sun needy trees, shrubs, berries and grasses to grow. Soon animals will move in, animals not seen in this area for years. Grazing and browsing deer, moose and and elk begin then predators will follow. For years woodpeckers will enjoy a feast as bugs and insects will do their best to convert the burn scarred trees to dust. New birds will begin to nest in the woodpecker excavations and different birds will begin nesting in new shrubs and grass on the forest floor. Forest and flowers Plants such as fireweed will flourish attracting insects and bees which will attract more insect feeding birds such as warblers, vireos and flycatchers. This life generating recovery does not happen as quickly as the firestorm demolition did, but it is all part of a naturally regenerative cycle designed by Mother Nature herself for the long term benefit of all. It happens at Her speed, a blink of Her eye, not ours. It will be fun to watch and document this miracle while I am able.


This article was contributed by guest blogger, Robert Scriba.

Robert has used Mother Nature and her wild places near and far for his own sanity rejuvenation for many years. He worked as a wildlife guide on the west coast of B.C. and has taken people from around the world on tours to beautiful experiences with wildlife and wilderness in Alberta, B.C., and western USA. He lives in a spectacular part of the world and he looks forward to bringing it to light through photography and writing about these explorations for many more years.

Robert’s other work can be found at www.wildviewfinders.ca. You can also connect with him on twitter at @bigoldbear1.

Recap of COSEWIC’s latest Wildlife Species Assessment meeting
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Recap of COSEWIC’s latest Wildlife Species Assessment meeting

[three_fourth] A few weeks ago, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) released assessments on 42 Canadian wildlife species. Some of the species on the list had not been assessed before, and the addition of these species brings the total number of wildlife species listed by COSEWIC as at risk to 668. Species are put into one of six risk categoriesNot At RiskSpecial ConcernThreatenedEndangeredExtirpated (no longer exists in the wild in Canada, but still exists elsewhere), and Extinct. Also in some cases there isn’t enough information to make an informed decision, whereupon COSEWIC assesses the species as Data Deficient.   Here are a few highlights from the December 2012 assessments: [separator headline="h2" title="Birds"] The Wood Thrush, along with the Eastern Wood Pewee, are two bird species among the 42 species assessed by COSEWIC this year. Neither of these birds has ever been assessed by COSEWIC in the past. The Wood Thrush was assessed as Threatened and the Eastern Wood Pewee Special Concern. As the names suggest, both of these species are associated with woodland habitat. The Eastern Wood Pewee belongs to a group called ‘aerial insectivores’ that catch their insect prey in-flight. In the past 40 years aerial insectivores have shown a remarkable decline of almost 70%. For this reason the assignment of Special Concern to the Eastern Wood Pewee, one of the most common aerial insectivores in eastern North America, is a harbinger of a startling trend. [separator headline="h2" title="Mammals"] Four populations of the American Badger were assessed, and three of the four were determined to be Endangered. The remaining fourth population has been classified as Not At Risk for the past 30 years, and has now been moved to the Special Concern category. Badgers need open habitat where they can dig in the soil to create their burrows. Now these few suitable habitat patches are often near roads, making roadkill a major threat to badgers. Many other species, including at-risk snakes and toads, are also particularly susceptible to roadkill. [separator headline="h2" title="Fish"] The St. Lawrence Estuary population of the Striped Bass is an example of federal protection and recovery initiatives having a positive influence on a species. In 2004 this population of Striped Bass was designated Extirpated. Reintroduction efforts with fish from the Miramichi River have increased abundance and distribution of the population, and have even resulted in natural spawning. It is not yet clear if this population is self-sustaining, and threats to the Striped Bass such as susceptibility to by-catch from commercial fisheries and dredging are still present. However the reintroduction efforts proved effective enough for the population to be down-listed to Endangered in the 2012 review. The Bay of Fundy population of Striped Bass is however not faring as well. In 2004 this population was designated Threatened. Threats such as exploitation from recreational fishing, by-catch in commercial fisheries, poaching and habitat degradation have taken their toll on the Bay of Fundy population of Striped Bass and the 2012 designation was increased to Endangered. [separator headline="h2" title="What's next?"] Now that COSEWIC has completed this latest round of Wildlife Species Assessments, COSEWIC's interim assessment and status report for each of the assessed species will be finalized by the appropriate Species Specialist Subcommittee. The status appraisals given for each species are compiled as part of COSEWIC’s Annual Report and submitted to the federal Minister of Environment every fall, for the Minister’s consideration for listing under the Species At Risk Act (SARA). Under the Act the Minister has 90 days to issue a response statement for each of the assessed species after receiving COSEWIC's Annual Report. After the Minister’s response is issued  the Government has an additional nine months to review the assessments and, in consultation with the Minister, determine whether to list or not legally list the species under the Act. The Minister can also decide to defer assessments back to COSEWIC. We thank our regular guest contributor and Nature Canada's Species At Risk Intern, Sarah Kirkpatrick-Wahl, for this post. [/three_fourth][one_fourth_last] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="200"]Wood Thrush being banded Wood Thrush being banded[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="320"]Wood Thrush Wood Thrush[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="320"]Eastern Wood-pewee Eastern Wood-pewee[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="320"]American badger American badger (taxus subsepecies)[/caption] [/one_fourth_last]

Happy National Tree Day!
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Happy National Tree Day!

Today is National Tree Day, a time for all Canadians to appreciate the great benefits that trees provide us. Forests are essential to human, animal and plant life – they support the majority of the earth’s biodiversity. As the “lungs of the earth”, forests absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen, which helps regulate climate and reduce the effects of global warming. Among other things, forests provide wildlife with a place to live, reduce soil erosion and regulate flooding. They provide people with fuel, timber and medicines, and help people reduce their energy consumption by shading buildings and screening winds. Since Canada is home to 10% of the world’s forests – forests cover half the Canadian landscape – Canadians have a key role to play in the global effort to conserve and sustainably manage forests. To mark National Tree Day, there are five actions the Government of Canada could take that would help ensure a healthy future for our country’s forest:
  1. Make significant progress to adequately represent all Canadian forest regions by forming a network of interconnected parks and other protected areas which includes at least 50% of the Boreal Forest.  In forested areas that are not included in this network, we call on the federal government to sustainably manage forest resources, ensuring the ecological and cultural integrity of forests – and their associated wetland areas and watercourses – are maintained.
  2. Adopt recovery strategies for species at risk living in forests which identify critical habitat, enforce protective measures, and implement timely action plans.
  3. Reduce emissions from logging by protecting forests in Canada and beyond by continuing to support “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” (REDD), an initiative under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In addition, adopt meaningful domestic greenhouse gas reduction targets to combat climate change.
  4. Improve Canadian forestry practices by:
    • Ensuring that forestry operations in Canada do not threaten migratory bird populations through the destruction of nests and eggs.
    • Adopting a financing mechanism to support the conservation of Canadian migratory birds and their forest habitat in Canada and throughout the western hemisphere
  5. Increase Canada’s efforts to settle land claims and outstanding treaty issues.
 

Protecting Migratory Birds in the North: A Trip to Moose Factory
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Protecting Migratory Birds in the North: A Trip to Moose Factory

The James Bay Cree of Moose Factory, Ontario are keenly aware of the ebb and flow of migrating bird populations. Birds, especially geese, are an integral part of their cultural heritage.
Last week, I visited the small community of Moose Factory to speak with people about the birds that share their homelands. I talked with Grade 4 and 4/5 classes in the the Ministik Public School and Grades 7 and 8 classes in the D. Echum Composite School about birds, and also spoke to a number of people in the community about Important Bird Areas, including some common initiatives with the Moose Cree Lands and Resources Department.
While at home the snow was melting, I was lucky to experience a tiny symphony (more like a string trio) of winter birds in Moose Factory. Watch this video to see and hear the birds I spotted. The loud squeak a the beginning is my attempt to attract birds. Hang in there for the grand finale – a bird’s eye view of Moose Factory and the surrounding James Bay wetlands!
Moose Factory is on an island in the Moose River, about ten kilometres from where the river meets the salty waters of James Bay. With several Important Bird Areas nearby, the Cree of Moose Factory have an important role to play in the conservation, protection and management of migratory birds like geese, which they depend on for food, and endangered Red Knot and declining Hudsonian Godwit, which use coastal areas as major migratory stop-overs. The health and integrity of Important Bird Areas are critical for maintaining stable and thriving populations of migratory birds. Engaging Cree communities is an important step toward protecting these birds.
We look forward to continuing our work with Cree communities around James Bay to conserve the special places for birds within their homelands.
Our bird conservation efforts in the James Bay and Hudson Bay region are supported by The Ivey Foundation.

Happy World Wetlands Day!
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Happy World Wetlands Day!

[two_third]Every year on February 2, the world celebrates the ecological integrity and sustainable use of wetlands around the globe. World Wetlands Day has been recognized in more than 120 countries since the signing of the Wetlands Convention in Ramsar, Iran on February 2, 1971.Canadians can be especially proud when it comes to their water.More surface freshwater is held within Canada than any other country. The vast majority lies within the Boreal Forest, stretching from Newfoundland to the Yukon. All this water, coupled with the Boreal forest’s compact growing season, makes it a haven for all wildlife, particularly birds. In one of the world’s largest migrations, billions of birds migrate from the Boreal forest to wintering grounds in the United States and the tropics, returning each spring to nest. More than 300 species, including large portions of the global population of many species, nest and breed in the Boreal forest largely because of the region’s abundant wetlands and undammed waterways.Water is the defining element of the Boreal forest. Lake Superior, the world’s largest freshwater lake, receives most of its water from the Boreal forest. The Mackenzie river, Canada’s wildest big river that stretches over 4,200 kilometers, is also the Boreal forest’s longest river. The rivers, lakes, swamps, bogs and marshes of the Boreal not only host billions of birds, but also play a critical role in stabilizing the Earth’s climate. The Boreal’s  ice-locked and water-saturated forests and peatlands, and sediments in its lakes and deltas, are some of the largest storehouses of carbon on the planet. They take up and release greenhouse gases, making them key regulators of climate through their role in the global carbon cycle. But the Boreal forest is under pressure from industrial development and climate change. Birds at Risk: The Importance of Canada’s Boreal Wetlands and Waterways, examines the impact of industrial expansion on three natural areas in the Boreal that are critical for birds. Produced by Nature Canada, Boreal Songbird Initiative, and Natural Resources Defense Council, the report examines the importance of Canada’s wetlands and waterways for birds and highlights conservation opportunities to save Canada’s freshwater and the billions of birds that depend on it. Stay tuned for excerpts from Birds at Risk in the coming weeks as we explore the importance of the Boreal forest for birds and people. Want to take action to protect Canada’s water bodies today? Show your love for your favorite water body by signing our Love My Lake Declaration! With excerpts from A Forest of Blue - Canada's Boreal Forest: The World's Water Keeper. [/two_third] [one_third_last][caption id="" align="alignnone" width="320"]Image of Oscar Lake Oscar Lake, Northwest Territories by D. Langhorst, Ducks Unlimited[/caption][caption id="" align="alignnone" width="320"]Image of a Rusty Blackbird Rusty Blackbird breeds in the Boreal forest. It's facing a 90% population decline. Photo: Jeff Nadler[/caption][/one_third_last]

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